TSX heads lower amid China concerns; BMO, National Bank post solid earnings by Malcolm Morrison, The Canadian Press Posted Feb 25, 2014 2:27 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email The TMX Group logo, home of the TSX, is shown in Toronto on June 28, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim TORONTO – The Toronto stock market closed lower Tuesday as concerns about China’s economy depressed commodity prices and resource stocks while two major banks posted solid earnings reports.The S&P/TSX composite index dropped 38.1 points to 14,188.98.Bank of Montreal (TSX:BMO) had $1.06 billion or $1.58 of net income in the first quarter, up two per cent from a year earlier and five cents higher than forecast. Adjusted net income was $1.08 billion or $1.61 a share, which was also ahead of estimates.At the National Bank (TSX:NA) quarterly net income ex-items came in at $384 million or $1.09 per share, well above expectations of $1.05 per share.Bank of Montreal stock edged up six cents to $72.63 while National Bank gained 62 cents to $44.23.“What has worked in the banks’ favour is the fact that the markets have been improving,” said Kash Pashootan, portfolio manager and vice-president at First Avenue Advisory in Ottawa, a Raymond James company.“And as they have improved, assets under management naturally have grown from the market increasing their value and as assets grow, the fees that they collect on those assets have grown.”The Canadian dollar slipped 0.16 of a cent to 90.2 cents US.U.S. indexes were lower amid data showing the latest weather-related impact on economic data. U.S. home prices fell for the second straight month in December as severe winter weather, tight supply and higher costs combined to slow sales.The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index declined 0.1 per cent from November to December.The Dow Jones industrials fell 27.48 points to 16,179.66, the Nasdaq was down 5.38 points to 4,287.59 while the S&P 500 index gave back 2.49 points to 1,845.12.Other data showed a dip in American consumer confidence. The Conference Board’s index showed the index declined to 78.1 in February from 79.4 in January because of adverse weather conditions.Commodity prices declined with markets rattled by a deceleration in the rise of Chinese housing prices in January and weakness in China’s currency.Last week’s decline in the tightly controlled yuan prompted suggestions that Beijing might be trying to support exporters and help offset weakening domestic demand. That came after a HSBC survey showed Chinese manufacturing activity in February tumbled to a seven-month low.The base metals component was off 0.88 per cent while March copper fell for a second day, down one cent to US$3.26 a pound.The energy sector drifted 0.52 per cent lower as the April crude contract on the New York Mercantile Exchange fell 99 cents to US$101.83 a barrel.The gold sector was also a laggard, down about 1.1 per cent while April bullion gained $4.70 to US$1,342.70 an ounce. But the sector has rallied in recent weeks and is up 30 per cent year to date.BlackBerry (TSX:BB) was a major gainer, up 86 cents or 7.91 per cent to $11.73 as the smartphone maker continued to benefit from a report from Bloomberg that automaker Ford will base its next-generation Sync system on the smartphone maker’s QNX and no longer use a system from Microsoft. The strong showing followed a run-up of almost seven per cent on Monday.
Anjem Choudary, pictured wearing a tag in London on SundayCredit:Steve Finn Professor Anthony Glees, director of Buckingham University’s Centre for Security and Intelligence Studies, said he could not understand the logic of allowing someone like Choudary, who had expressed no contrition, to be freed.“He is a clear and present danger. I don’t think the government has got the focus on these surgical issues of national security or the focus to find the time to correct their own mistakes,” he said.“I don’t have much confidence that Mr Wallace, for all his strengths, can move this great hulking container ship of parliament at the moment.“Unfortunately, the shire horse of jihadism has bolted.” Failure to do so was described as “catastrophic”.Nikita Malik, director of the Henry Jackson Society’s Centre on Radicalisation and Terrorism told the Telegraph: “It’s welcome that the Government is acting now but the horse has already bolted. The Government should have closed this loophole years ago – if they had, Choudary would still have years on his sentence to serve. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. The legal loophole that allowed Anjem Choudary to walk free from jail just halfway through his sentence will be closed, Ben Wallace, the security minister, has said.The Home Office will ensure that jihadists convicted of “inviting” support for terrorist groups such as the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) will no longer be eligible for such an early release, he promised.However, there were warnings on Sunday night that the announcement was too little too late.Mr Choudary, the notorious Islamist hate preacher, was released on Friday after serving just half of his five-and-a-half-year sentence.He is subjected to strict bail conditions which will lapse when his licence period ends in two-and-a-half years’ time, leaving him a free man.Had the loophole been closed earlier, Choudary would likely have been taken “out of action” for up to 15 years with an extended licence period, experts said. Anjem Choudary pictured on Sunday in LondonCredit:Steve Finn “Terrorism is just as serious as violent or sexual offending and should have been treated as such”When Mr Justice Holroyde sentenced Choudary in September 2016, he said: “You show no remorse at all for anything you have said or done, and I have no doubt you will continue to communicate your message whenever you can.”Yet he said he had no power to impose an extended sentence.Bringing the offence of inviting support for terrorist groups within the scope of the Extended Determinate Sentence programme, would allow a “dangerous” offender to be kept inside jail beyond the halfway point of his tariff.Choudary would have had to convince the parole board he was a reformed character and taken part in all the relevant prison training courses even to be considered for early release. The 51-year-old father-of-five, was spotted smiling yesterday (SUN) morning, his electronic tag visible around his right ankle, as he stepped out of a bail hostel in north London.It is feared he has no intention of giving up his support for Isil.It was last week claimed that he had refused to engage in deradicalisation programmes in jail.And in a leaked 2014 recording, released by the Sun on Sunday, Choudary revealed he would continue supporting jihadism and said it was “the duty of every Muslim to give their allegiance” to IS.